Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr., Iowa's most prominent black pastor and the president of the Iowa-Nebraska chapter of the NAACP, announces his support for extreme anti-gay Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats. The registered Democrat says he is supporting Vander Plaats because the Sioux City businessman promises to issue an executive order to halt marriage equality in Iowa on his first day in office. Despite it being totally illegal.
"I know that Bob Vander Plaats is not afraid to stand up for what is right,” Ratliff said. "That takes courage. He's talked about the importance of defending the institution of marriage. … That takes backbone and determination. That's what I want in my governor – and that's why I'm standing here today to show my support for him," he added.
Ratliff also said he will actively campaign for Vander Plaats. All five of the men seeking the 2010 GOP gubernatorial nomination oppose gay marriage, but Vander Plaats is the only candidate who has pledged to issue an executive order to put a stay on gay marriage and force a vote on the issue.
Rod 2.0 readers may recall that Ratliff is one of the state's leading anti-gay bigots. The pastor of the Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines received "a standing ovation" by his congregation as he denounced the Iowa Supreme Court's landmark marriage equality decision. Ratliff also wrote a blistering op-ed in the Des Moines Register that attacked gays as "un-natural and un-healthy".
Ratliff''s wingnut position is a sharp contrast to the NAACP's national leadership. Chairman Julian Bond and President Ben Jealous have came out publicly in favor of repealing California's Proposition 8. Over the weekend, Bond delivered a passionate address to the National Equality March and said he was proud to stand with gay and lesbians in their quest for equality. Said the civil rights veteran:"Rights for gays and lesbians aren't special rights in any way. It isn't special to be free from discrimination, that is a universal entitlement of citizenship."
Ratliff says his endorsement is not in his capacity as NAACP chapter president. Okay. So does this mean he will give a second endorsement for the gubernatorial candidate who will be best for Iowa's black community and help improve unemployment in Des Moines?
More on Rev. Keith Ratliff:
Iowa Black Pastor: "No Compromise on Homosexuality"
Iowa's Leading Black Pastor Seeks Marriage Ban